WORLD Magazine / Central Ideas / Opening Words


Rise of the Corruption Story

Macrostories in Conflict

Breakthrough of the Oppression Story



Central Ideas cover
This book arose out of 5 years of teaching journalism history at The University of Texas. In lectures I presented both the conventional interpretations and my own, slowly developing contrarian analysis; students who asked hard questions suggested that a wider audience might find my research useful. I thank them for their quiet pressure.

Librarians at The University of Texas, the Library of Congress, and the Newberry Library helped me to find out-of-the-way material, and a grant from the Sarah Scaife Foundation provided additional writing time. The material in Appendix B previously appeared in American Journalism. I also thank Jennings Bryant, Robin Marks Weisberg, and others associated with Lawrence Erlbaum; this book shows for a third time their admirable tolerance for decidedly nontrendy ideas.

My children are aspiring journalists who certainly inspired me: Peter (editor of the Austin Animal-Statesman), David (editor of an ancient Greek newspaper, The Ithaca Times), and Daniel (a crackerjack cub reporter and Civil War general) continued to provide joy and deep satisfaction. My wife Susan is an excellent journalist in her own right; she has a wise head, a gracious heart, and a loveliness that goes beyond narrative. I would not be able to put in a long day of writing if I could not look forward to a family dinner at its close.

Portions of this book appeared as articles in American Journalism, Antithesis, and Academic Questions, and as columns in the Houston Post, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Indianapolis Star. My thanks to their editors.

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